Forest and Bird walking out of the Land and Water Forum (the Forum) is yet another sign that Nick Smith's river rebranding exercise has done more harm than good for freshwater in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.
Forest and Bird announced today it would withdraw from the Forum because the Government's proposed freshwater standards largely ignore the consensus recommendation of the Forum.
"Instead of unifying New Zealanders around protecting our rivers and lakes, Nick Smith's water policy risks further widening divisions between farmers and irrigators and environmental groups," said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“If we are going to clean up our rivers we need all New Zealanders on board. National can’t keep side-lining people and groups it disagrees with – that’s not the way science works.
“Farmers, environmental groups, iwi and others worked incredibly hard over the last nine years to find common ground and solutions to the freshwater crisis. Nick Smith has undermined their work by ignoring their consensus recommendations on fresh water.
“New Zealanders want to be able to swim in their rivers again and trust the water coming out of their tap. They need a government that listens to all New Zealanders, not just their mates.
“The idea behind the Forum was a good one – bringing together stakeholders from both the commercial and environmental sides. But it became redundant once National started cherry picking recommendations.
“The Forum has also been compromised by a mandate focused more squarely on water use for short-term profit, rather than long-term sustainability,” Ms Delahunty said.